1978: Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meat Loaf

Composed by Jim Steinman. Recorded by Meat Loaf in 1976 for his debut studio album, Bat Out of Hell, which was released in 1977. The song was released as a single in 1978. Jim Steinman said about the song that he wanted to write the ultimate car/sex song in which everything goes horribly wrong in the end. Paradise by the Dashboard Light is divided into three parts. Part 1: Paradise. The song opens with the characters reminiscing about days as a young high school couple on a date. They are parked by a lake and having fun, experiencing “paradise by the dashboard light”, until the male character insists they’re “gonna go all the way tonight”. His pushing the matter is mirrored by New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto broadcasting a portion of a baseball game that serves as a metaphor for his attempts to achieve his goal. Phil Rizzuto’s baseball play-by-play call was recorded in 1976 at The Hit Factory in New York City, USA by song producer Todd Rundgren, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. Phil Rizzuto publicly maintained he was unaware that his contribution would be equated with sex in the finished song. However, Meat Loaf asserts that Phil Rizzuto only feigned ignorance to stifle some criticism from a priest and was fully aware of the context of what he was recording.

Part 2: Let Me Sleep on it. Just as the boy is about to score the girl bursts out telling him to “Stop right there!” She refuses to go any further unless the boy first promises to love her forever and marry her. Reluctant to make such a long-term commitment, the boy repeatedly asks her to continue on for the time being and promises to give his answer in the morning. However, she is not giving in that easily, so he finally cracks and gives his promise: “I started swearing to my God and on my mother’s grave that I would love you to the end of time”.

Part 3: Praying for the End of Time. Back in the present, the male character can no longer stand the woman’s presence. As the man cannot break his vow, he is now “praying for the end of time” to relieve him from his obligation. 

35mm prints of a live-on-sound stage performance of “Paradise” were produced and sent to movie theatres holding midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to be played before the film. Singer Ellen Foley provided the female vocals on the album but she is not in the video. Instead, actress and singer Karla DeVito appears in both the video and live performances.

Weekly Chart History (1978)Peak Position
Belgium2
Netherlands1
USA Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart39